mud to harder stuff below, is not bothered by weed, and
holds well in the rocky, foul bottoms common in much
of British Columbia, Alaska, Labrador, and Greenland.
Rather than take advantage of the modern design with a
smaller hook, we’ve continued to use the same massive
anchor as in the past, which gives us the ability to
anchor on short scope (typically 2: 1) with higher holding
power available in a blow if we ease out chain. This
ability to anchor on short scope is the key to fitting our
83-foot Wind Horse into some of the isolated anchorages
we love to visit. Less swinging room and reduced chain
on the bottom mean a smaller risk of fouling (we have
yet to foul the anchor).
There are two anchor chain snubbers on board: a 50-
foot piece of 3/4-inch, three-strand nylon for extreme
conditions (which has yet to be used) and a 15-foot
piece of 7/16-inch nylon, which we utilize on the odd
occasion when chain noise is bothersome. Both attach
to the chain with high-strength titanium snap shackles.
Conventional docklines on a boat the size of Wind
Horse are heavy and hard to handle, so we have a set
made from Vectran high-modulus rope. These are just
7/16 inch in diameter and very light (although they have
a 15,000-lb. breaking strength). We thought we’d use
these just for getting onto the dock and then switch to
heavier material. However, we now use the Vectran lines
all the time, except when the boat is in storage.
Wind Horse is powered by a pair of John Deere 150hp,
four-cylinder engines. They drive through a ZF 280A
gearbox with a 2.45: 1 reduction. The engines are quiet
and smooth running (typically at 1900 rpm), and, aside
from a problem with a defective injection pump, we’ve
found them to be trouble free. Fuel consumption under
way averages between 6. 7 and 7.2gph at 11 knots,
including fuel for generating power and running
hydraulics. We chose these engines for a variety of
reasons, chief among them our concern with having
engines that are controlled by a computer. We are five
years removed from that decision, and we would now
be comfortable with the electronic Deere engines.
The exhaust system is dry to the engine room ceiling
and wet from the deck to the transom. Last year we
added hanging Aqualift mufflers made for us by Centek
Industries to reduce exhaust noise. These mufflers drain
when the engines shut down, so there is no water left
in the exhaust system. When Bill Parlatore, PMM’s
founding editor, conducted sea trials with us in New
Zealand, he measured 57 decibels in the saloon at
cruise. We are now quieter.
The advantages of wet exhausts versus dry exhausts
are debatable. We chose a wet exhaust because it is
quieter and cleaner, and we are not afraid of saltwater
After 35,000 Miles
exhaust cooling. We did have a saltwater pump impeller
fail just after we had changed to new impellers on a
preventative basis. The lack of salt water was picked up
by our Aqua Signal water flow alarm and engine exhaust
heat sensor, and 20 minutes later, the pump was going
again with a new impeller. We carry two spare raw-water
cooling pumps and have the bearings and seals changed
every 1,000 hours.
Both engines are fitted with Murphy Swichgages for
reading oil pressure, engine coolant temperature,
transmission oil pressure, and coolant and oil levels.
These are mechanical gauges with the ability to send an
alarm if specific parameters are not met. For example, if
our engines normally run between 185°F and 190°F, the
Murphy gauges are set to signal us at 200°. The Murphy
gauges provide an early warning as well as a backup
to the electric sensors with which most engines are
equipped. Last fall, on our way down the Oregon
coast, we noticed a significant oil pressure drop on the
starboard engine electric gauge. The Murphy mechanical
gauge showed normal pressure, so we knew the problem
was in the electric gauge or its sender, not in the engine.
Previously, the fuel returns for the two engines and
genset tied into a common return line to the engine
room day tank. This worked fine until we had a shaft
seal go bad on the starboard engine’s injection pump.
The bad seal allowed diesel to leak into the bilge from
the telltale hole at the bottom of the pump, so we shut
down the engine. Return fuel from the port engine
continued leaking from the hole (we solved this by
disconnecting the starboard engine fuel return line
and plugging it). Return lines from each engine now
go directly to the day tank.
The fuel filtration system has now pumped and
polished in excess of 25,000 gallons of diesel. We have a
pair of quarter horse 24VDC Oberdorfer geared transfer
pumps, and we use one at a time; the other is a spare,
ready to go. Separ filters are ahead of the transfer pumps
and between the various diesel consumers and the day
tank. We have changed filters twice because of a pressure
drop and three other times because we wanted clean
filters before a long offshore passage. We chose these
filters because of their “back flushing” capability. Open
the bleed screw and drain the bowl, and a dirty filter is
renewed for several hundred hours of additional life.
We have only used this feature twice, but when used
at sea it avoids the necessity of opening the filter top.
ENGINE CONTROL AND ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
Deciding which form of engine control to use was
difficult. We have used Hynautic hydraulic controls for
many years, and they are super reliable. However, you